I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday For A Hamburger Today
The famous (or infamous) words of the character called Wimpy in the Popeye cartoons. Bring back memories? I (Ryan) love those old cartoons. I remember watching them with my grandpa (Papa) and we would would both get a kick out of Popeye mumbling to himself. If you listened closely you could catch a few gems. In one episode he was eating cake and roast turkey for lunch with Olive Oil, and he says, “I’ll take the cake and give you the bird.” Classic stuff!
Whenever I think of Wimpy wanting to pay later for immediate gratification today, it makes me think of the character flaws that make all of us human. Wanting satisfaction now and be willing to pay a heavy price for it later.
While I am still guilty of procrastination now and then, I have learned from experience that it can come back and bite you in a painful way. I have also learned that a little discomfort now can avoid a potential disaster later. I can remember putting off doing my schoolwork until the last minute because I knew I still had time… Then something came up at the last moment that diverted my attention and before I knew it, it was impossible to get the assignment done in time. I paid the price.
The obvious lesson here?
If you wait until the last possible moment to get things done, you are taking a very high risk of getting burned.
This is especially true when it comes to retirement planning. Retirement is supposed to be a peaceful relaxing time where you get to sit back and enjoy all the sacrifice and hard work you put in over your career. Who wants to be all stressed out during retirement because you are worried about the future? At Bull Moose we often see the consequences of procrastination and poor decision-making. Believe me when I say that it is very hard to tell folks that they might have to go back into the work force and get a job to survive.
In the past, we have talked a lot about the 3 Key Elements to Success: Inspiration, Knowledge and Action. The most important element is Action. Without action, all of the inspiration and knowledge you have can be a big waste. Imagine having a sweet hot rod parked outside but the engine won’t start.
By avoiding “paying on Tuesday for a hamburger today,” you can potentially avoid a multitude of major problems in what is supposed to be the best time of your life.
Here are some action steps for a better retirement:
1. Save, save, save! Set money aside on a consistent basis that you will not be tempted to spend. Set up a forced savings account that automatically comes out of your paycheck or bank account. You will be amazed at how fast this builds up.
2. Take advantage of free money. If your employer matches retirement contributions, take the free money. You would be a fool not to. Contribute at minimum what your employer matches and consider contributing even more.
3. Take advantage of tax-free money. Contribute to a Roth IRA. When you take the money out to use it someday you won’t have to pay income taxes. That can be a huge deal.
4. Save in places other than retirement accounts. Get several things going that may offer different advantages.
5. Pay attention to your level of risk exposure. Higher risk may be ok for early years, but as you get closer to retirement account you should be safer and simpler with your money. Some folks do not realize the level of risk they are exposed to as they approach retirement. Do not forget what happened in the stock market in 2008. Get with an advisor right away to do an investment analysis. You can take a baby step of action now by learning your own Risk Number. Take the 5 min quiz by CLICKING HERE.
6. Look for ways to protect your life savings from a healthcare crisis. This all too often is an afterthought in the planning process and can do great damage to what you have accumulated. You don’t necessarily have to buy traditional long-term care insurance to accomplish this.
Now another note about the 3 Key Elements to Success (Inspiration, Knowledge and Action)… knowledge is not the same as knowhow. That’s where we come in!
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